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Clinical Attachment – The Whole Truth

If you are done with your PLAB 1 test, and currently sceptical about observerships, then this blog is for you!

Hey, I am Pragyan, an IMG from India. Last time I wrote for TrewLink, I was preparing for my PLAB 1 test and today I am done with GMC registration and currently applying for FY2 equivalent jobs in the UK.

I have also completed one month of clinical observership at Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford soon after my PLAB 2 test. Phew! Time does fly fast. Trust me, it’s going to be the same for you. In this blog I aim to provide a clearer picture regarding clinical observership and also share with you, the ground reality of the whole process.

I will be covering the following in this blog:

  • Why is it Important!

  • Why is it an Adventure?

  • Still Sceptical?

  • How to Apply

  • Million Dollar tips

Why is it Important!

The boring bit. But some “should know” points:

  1. Gives you the NHS experience.

  2. Boosts your communication skills.

  3. Helps expand your network.

  4. In case of availability of non-training FY2 equivalent posts, your application might be preferred.

  5. Most importantly, gives you the confidence you need to show in your job applications.

Of course, there are other benefits such as helping you choose your favourite specialty, helping you decide whether or not to work in the NHS, etc. You can always curate your own reasons to do an observership.

Why is it an Adventure?

After exhausting yourself for the PLAB 2 test, it is exciting to witness a different health care system in a new country. My observership period was definitely an adventure. Let me give you an insight.

During my first week, there were two more observers who were in their last week of their one-month period. Sharing their experience with me, I found myself with a huge list of Do’s and targets and how to impress the consultants. This overwhelming kickstart to my observership put me in a mission mode. However, it was quite a fun time interacting with the SHOs and nurses and mingling with the fun ambience of the Operating Rooms.

It may already sound overwhelming for you but trust the process.

Still Sceptical?

Eventually, your aim is to ease into the process of getting into training. For that to happen, you need to complete one year of FY2. Unless you are applying for standalone FY2 posts, you need to apply for non-training FY2 jobs. The latter is quite a tiresome process and to do a butter landing, you might want to do a clinical attachment. There are two reasons:

  1. Being in the shoes of shortlisting panel, you would want to choose a candidate who has some experience in your trust.

  2. Getting recommendation letters by your consultants give an upper edge to your job application for posts in the same trust.

How to Apply

So how to apply? Use your network and get your hands on E-mail Ids of consultants (not their secretaries). Mail them expressing your interest for a clinical attachment under her/him. Attach your resume for their reference. Read this post for detailed information on this.

Million Dollar tips

  • As soon as your clinical attachment in a trust is confirmed, keep an eye on available posts in that department or even any other department in that trust on NHSjobs or Tracjobs. If the application deadline is before your PLAB 2 result day, I suggest, you apply for the job. Thank me later!

  • There are many non-paid and paid observerships. Unless you are getting an observership in your favourite trust/department, I suggest you to prefer non-paid attachments as it is always better to save money when the outcome is going to be the same irrespective of the path chosen.

  • Do not hesitate to take the extra step in proving your worth to the consultants.

  • If in a surgical observership, make sure you log the procedures in eLogbook and get it signed by your consultant.

Need more tips and advice?

If you have any questions related to clinical attachments, I would be happy to answer them at You can register using this link. Find me as an ambassador and follow my profile – Pragyan Pratik to receive regular support and advice.

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